How to Remove an Idler Arm

various tools
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 35-70
What You'll Need
1/2 socket and drive wrench
Long breaker pipe/bar
Wrench and drive socket to remove old idler arm
Torque wrench up to 180 foot pounds.
Flat screw driver, diag wire cutter, and nose pliers (long) for cotter pins
Floor jack and stands
Cotter pins
Idler number

The idler arm is a support for the right side of the steering relay side in the same way the pitman arm supports the left side and keeps the center link aligned in a conventional steering system. The idler arm is essential to keep your steering gear working efficiently. If there is a problem with the idler arm, you may feel some play in the steering of the vehicle. If there is a problem with the idler arm, the vehicle should be checked at an alignment shop as it is a safety feature. The idler arm may need to be replaced.

Step 1 – Check out the Idler Arm for Replacement

Jack the vehicle under the lower control arm of the passenger side. Hold the tire at three o’clock and nine o’clock positions and move it in and out. If you have vertical motion that exceeds 5/16” at the center link, it is important that you replace the idler arm.

Step 2 – Removing the Idler Arm

The idler arm comes with new thick bolts and washers. They are stronger than the grade eight bolts and washers previously used.

Next, jack up the vehicle underneath the right A-arm. Remove the right side wheel. Place the jack stand below the vehicle’s frame. Let down the vehicle easily onto the stand. Put a floor jack underneath the A-arm to prevent the vehicle from falling on you. Remove the cotter pin from the nut on the idler arm.

Step 3 – Installing the Idler Arm

You will need a new cotter pin to match and replace the one you just removed. The idler arm’s bolt should be placed in the center link. The idler arm should be positioned so that the frame bolt can slide through the bolt holes. When you insert the new bolts, make sure that the new washers are under the bolt head. Install the washers and nuts and torque to 60 ft lbs. Install the nut on the idler arm center link bolt and tighten to 80 ft. lbs. Make sure the cotter pin holes are lined up to it. Tighten to align the holes. Install the new cotter pin, grease the arm and the job is completed.